"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Last week I posted my Beefy Cheesy Enchiladas and said I would post the Chicken Enchiladas this week. So here they are. Please notice they are in a much nicer pan than last week's enchiladas!
Hey, come to think of it....Finally, this post is not about books! (Like the posts have been all week!)

When I make enchiladas, I usually make both beef and chicken. They both disappear equally fast.  The chicken enchiladas are creamy and delicious. They are worth you trying them!
Not only are they good served out of the oven, but they are delicious warmed up the next day as well. 

Chicken Enchiladas

5 or 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Boil these. Shred these or cube these
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can Ro-tel (drained)
1 large carton sour cream (I use about 3/4 of it.)
 1/2 cup of the chicken broth (from cooking the chicken)
flour tortillas
shredded cheese

Boil chicken breasts.  I season my chicken as it is boiling with garlic, onion salt and red pepper flakes. When they are finished, let cool then shred them with your hands. They should shred easily.
I usually use the same pan for making the sauce as I do for cooking the chicken breasts. (Easier to clean up!)
Save about a 1/2 cup of chicken broth. To this add the cream of chicken soup, the (drained) Ro-tel, the 3/4 carton of sour cream and the chicken. Cook all this on a low burner, until it is mixed well. It should look like a good cream sauce with some chicken in it. 
Put some of the sauce in the bottom of the casserole pan you plan to cook the enchiladas in.
Then take a large (serving) spoon full of goop/sauce. Put it in the middle of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and put in pan. Repeat over and over until you are out of goop. BUT save a little goop to put over the top of the enchiladas. Add (your preference) of shredded cheese over the top. Cover with foil and cook for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Very quick and easy. The best part about the recipe is that it is so flexible. You can add more chicken or another can of cream of chicken if you want. I have added whipping cream and/or half and half if I have it sitting in my fridge. The enchiladas are delicious because they are so creamy. Make one pan or three. All you do is just add more ingredients. I promise you, this recipe will be a keeper!

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One For The Books

Believe me when I say I did not plan this. At least consciously.  Probably somewhere in the mesh which is my brain though, there was some subconscious planning going on! 

 I did not plan to have three posts in a row about books. It just happened. I did not even realize it until it was a done deal. 
 Do you think it had something to do with the fact that books are my business and I have been back at school for a couple of weeks? 
 Well for whatever reason it is what it is. I'm telling you, I have books all over my house! 
 I had taken down my summer sea shell mantel. I wanted something that would take me through late summer and in to early fall. I was trying to think of muted colors. I thought of my big bag of pine cones. Then I remembered I had the big urn full of twig balls. I pulled those out. 
 I decided to do the twig balls instead of the pine cones. Then (my wandering) mind thought of the big crock bowl in the cabinet and I pulled it out. 
 I was still thinking "muted colors", "muted colors". Then it hit me. I went to the big armoire where I keep my (very old family) books and pulled the ones that were browns and greens. 
 I put the books, twig balls and crock bowl on the fireplace. I loved all the different textures together. But I knew we still needed a few more fillers. So then I pulled my large alphabet balls and some brown glass balls I have. 
 Finally I saw my little glass platter with alphabet letters all over it. Perfect colors and theme. I put that on the fireplace. Then I tweeked. 
 I decided I was in love. So many textures. So many elements. From the fancy gold frame to the twigs. From leather book covers to colored book pages. It was perfect to take me into Fall. 
 I took pictures after school earlier in the week. Tonight I opened up my pictures and it hit me. What the heck is going on with me and books? First I did the Virtual English Teachers Back to School lunch. Then I rearranged my "use-all-the-time-bookcase."  
Now a fireplace mantel full of books. 

 And the alphabet.

 And textures.

 And my Mom's own signature from a book when she was  young. (And the book cost $11.25. Can you imagine? Wow! I guess that tells you that I come from a long line of book lovers!)

 And my grandfather's old pocket watch. (I thought it represented how people I lose track of time when immersed in a good book.)

 So there you have it. A very unplanned late summer mantel....resounding with special memories. 

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Every Trick In The Book!

We have a room behind our family room where our 'big' computer is.
When we bought the house, we tagged this room for the "grandmother's" room, 
if and/or when they should ever have to stay with us. 

In the meantime, the room is full of great photographs, some furniture pieces I've painted and a big bookshelf. My SIL asked when she came over if the room was "my room" where I liked to stay while all the boys are in the family room watching TV.  She said the room looked just like me. I took it as a compliment. (!!???!!!)
I do spend a lot of time in that room. And I have walked by the (above) bookcase a million times. Each time I thought, "I've got to clean that bookshelf up."  I kept saying, "tomorrow" or "next weekend". When we first moved in my daughter put all the books in the bookshelf and she did a nice job. I'm not quite sure how it got so bad. (Thankfully the picture is a little blurry!!ha!)
So Sunday I took all the books off. I arranged them on the floor in a color-coordinated way with the idea of putting them back on the shelves in a color-coordinated way. I had seen that idea on many blogs and liked the way it looked. But the books are mine and I'm kind of anal about them.
I decided instead to put them back up in the bookcase in the manner in which I use them. Very anal, but very, very easy for me to understand. Plus I know right where they go. Look at the results. SOSOSO much better. (Keep in mind these are but a few of my books!! I have them all over the house (neatly arranged of course.) 
Many of the books in this case are ones I use to teach.  If I don't use them directly to teach, then I use them for background info to teach. It was easy for me to categorize them. For instance the stack above are all about my beloved Oklahoma. 

Not only are these books many of my "special" books, but the bookcase is also full of special pictures and tokens from my childhood or from my family. 
That's my camera I used in my college classes and a picture of my brother and me when we were both under two. 

One shelf has books that I use all the time in class. They are worn, torn and tattered. They aren't meant to look pretty. But to me (and only me, I'm sure) they are absolutely beautiful. 

Many of the books in this bookcase were gifts from friends and family. I can tell you each book that was a gift and the person that gifted me with the treasure. 

I have an entire stack of books that are puzzles, facts and brain-teasers. I love facts and brain-teasers. I am determined to keep my brain working as I age!! 
I have an entire shelf of books from my childhood.  The basket holds Nancy Drew books that were both my mother's and mine. I also have other sets I remember my mom reading to me when I was little. 
The bronze leaf was made from a real leaf from the Survivor Tree at the OKC Bombing Memorial. 
Of course a bookcase of my favorite books would have to hold at least one Bible and other Bible references. 
The green Bible pictured was one I used in high school. 
It is highlighted with all sorts of notes I took when I was a teenager.
Those are pictures of my Dad and me at the same age. Notice any resemblance?
It is also a place to put  (an outdated) picture frames of my sweet son when he was young. 

The top of the bookcase holds pictures of the alphabet or the letter "L", both in many forms. (Perfect for a bookcase.)
After using 'every trick in the book',  when I walk by now the bookcase looks SO much better. Why in the heck did it take me so long to clean it up? Thankfully no one else is interested in my books so it shouldn't be hard for me to keep it this way. I'm closing the book on this redo! 
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Readin' and 'Ritin and 'Rithmetic Tablescape

"School days, School days
Dear old Golden Rule days.
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
For no reason whatsoever, I decided to have a virtual lunch with my favorite Kansas English teacher pals. 
If they lived close by, I would have had
Rita, Steph, Sarah and Darlene over
for a real lunch.
A "Back-to-School" lunch per say. 
And I would not have even been (too)
mad that Rita and Darlene are retired
and don't have to go back!
Despite the fact my good-friends and co-workers are hundreds are miles from me, I decorated my table with things teachers would enjoy. (Retired or not!!) And the best part is that I did not have to buy a single item!!
I lined the table with globes I had. I got all three globes FOR FREE when they were being disposed of at a school (because the countries are no longer accurate). I used part of my stash of gas-station numbers as the charger/placemats.  The table is decorated with letters, numbers, books, science glassware, globes and pencils. I tried to cover all the core subjects!
I used vintage plain-as-can-be glasses. Then I remembered I had a roll of tape with old-school penmanship letters. I got the tape at the Dollar Tree a year or so ago. I simply cut strips to go around each glass and taped it right on to the glass. (As you can see I did not measure, but eye-balled it!)  Still, I thought they turned out very cute.
I have a good collection of vintage science glassware as well. I put it all over the table and thought about putting flowers in each piece. Then I remembered my big box of golden #2 pencils and decided to use them for decorations as well. They were perfect. 
The table runner and napkins were made from a comforter cover (from Ikea a year ago). The fabric has a great modern graphic alphabet all over it. I thought it was the perfect juxtaposition to all my vintage pieces.  Plus, the black and white was classic as well. I will show in a tutorial later, how I whipped up the pieces in a jiffy. 
I figured at my virtual English teachers luncheon we would have soup and salad. (Alphabet soup, of course!!). So I set the table using dishes I would use for a soup, salad and dessert luncheon. I chose the colors from the books and globes. Again, I love how it blended together but still popped. 
You can get a glimpse of my napkin-that-was-a-comforter-cover-in-its-former-life.  I got the chalk board napkin "rings" at Nell Hills (probably five years ago).  They are double sided chalkboards and so fun to use in different ways. 
I bought the #5 from my good-friend-the-picker Renee' (who is a semi-retired teacher in Oklahoma). Then when I was making my Dr. Seuss table in March, I needed more, so she sold me three more. (And I never even posted my Dr. Seuss table!!) Renee' finds the best stuff. She "gets" my (odd???) taste. 
After I used the tape on my glasses, I thought it was so cute that I just loopedy looped it around the middle of the table. I think it looks cuter "in real life". 
The vintage ironstone dishes are the ones my family used when we were growing up.  There have been many a meal served on those things!
THEN I decided that this would be a cute tablescape in which to get a birds-eye-view. So I heave-hoed my gianormous boot/cast on my leg and stood on the bench for a picture. I teetered. I tottered. I almost lost my balance, but I managed to get a few pics first. Believe me, it was ugly when I tried to get down!
Can you imagine that someone (or several someones!) wanted to throw those old globes away! 
When my school got a new-state-of-the-art-science-lab, many of the "old things" were destined for the trash. I quickly told one of the science teachers to check with me before he trashed anything. This was AFTER I found out that so many things had been thrown away!! (Including a couple of Periodic Table charts!!) Gasp. 
I hope my friends are enjoying their virtual luncheon with me! 
Of course, any English teacher worth her salt would have flashcards at the table as well. 

I have a huge collection of old books. I used math, literature and history for my table. The muted old colors were perfect with the old globes. 

Rita and Darlene and Sarah and Steph...I wish you could have been here for our (alphabet) soup and salad lunch. No matter what, I enjoyed setting the table and having a virtual luncheon.  Here's to a great school year for all of us (that are not retired!!) 
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